I have been collecting folk recordings, mostly by artists from the United States and the British Isles, for about 40 years. This blog is intended to share a few of these recordings (all believed to be Public Domain under EU law where this blog originates) and make them available online for research and scholarship in accordance with the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107. Also included are links to other interesting blogs, websites, and freely available folk audio and video.
Mittwoch, 13. Oktober 2010
Goebel Reeves "The Texas Drifter" in "The Silver Trail" (1937)
When consulting IMDB about a Public Domain movie at archive.org ("The Silver Trail", 1937), I came across the following review:
"Near the beginning of the film, there is a character called "Hank", presumably the brother of Lease's character, who is never seen again, but performs two nice old-time country songs in the Montana Slim/Wilf Carter vein."
Further research by myself identified "Hank" as GOEBEL REEVES "The Texas Drifter", most notably known as author of "Hobo's Lullaby" (made famous and often erroneously attributed to Woody Guthrie).
From Colin Larkin's The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (excerpt):
Goebel Leon Reeves, 9 October 1899, Sherman, Texas, USA, d. 26 January 1959, Long Beach, California, USA. Reeves was one of the true characters of country music, one who managed to reverse the rags-to-riches story, and from his nomadic lifestyle, he acquired the nickname of the Texas Drifter. He received his early training from his mother, a talented musician, who taught both piano and singing. His father, once a salesman, was elected to the state legislature and when the family relocated to Austin, he secured Goebel a job as a page-boy in the government buildings.
Reeves’ long association with hobos started one cold night when, as he left work wearing an expensive new overcoat given to him for Christmas, he met a hobo. He subsequently arrived home, coatless, but engrossed by tales of hobo life. He began to spend more and more time talking to any hobo that he met in the neighbourhood. His parents provided a tutor to improve his education and, although intelligent, his interests turned to the lifestyle of the hobo and to music after hearing a vaudeville artist called Al Wilson. He was impressed by Wilson’s singing and yodelling and it was probably Wilson who first taught him the yodel that he used so proficiently. He already played piano and trumpet but now turned to the guitar and began singing cowboy songs such as ‘Little Joe the Wrangler’.
In 1917, he joined the army (initially as a bugler) and saw action in Europe, where he was wounded and returned to the USA for discharge. Soon after, he left home and adopted the life of a hobo. He eked a living by singing on street corners and from that point many aspects of his life are unclear. He was known to fabricate facts - an early one being that he was born west of the Pecos and had been a hell-raising cowboy. On occasions, Reeves has been branded a liar, yet sometimes his outlandish stories were found to be true. He certainly played WFAA Dallas in the early 20s and his claim to have befriended and worked with Jimmie Rodgers was not disproved by Nolan Porterfield in his definitive book on Rodgers. He apparently even claimed to have taught Rodgers how to yodel. However, Reeves was infinitely the more accomplished exponent of the art and since their yodels are dissimilar, this may have been just one of his inventions....
...‘The Kidnapped Baby’ recorded for Decca Records in January 1935, would seem to be his last professional recording; for some reason, it received a UK release but not a US one. The final Reeves recordings were the transcription discs that he made in 1938/9 for the Macgregor Company of California....
... Reeves made an important contribution to country music and his style influenced many other artists. Many of his songs, especially ‘Hobo’s Lullaby’ (later also popularised by Woody Guthrie) and ‘The Tramp’s Mother’, have been recorded by countless other artists while many people rate his amusing ‘Station HOBO Calling’ to be one of his best songs. Any genre of music needs characters and, in Reeves, country music had one, which is why his work is still so popular; as Hoeptner emphasizes, ‘he had the intellectual capacity to convert his experiences to recorded accounts, which were both artistically and commercially successful’.